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8 Easy steps to lay a patio

Updated: May 1

How to lay a patio

A patio is a perfect choice for low maintenance, flexible outside space and with a large range of patio slabs to decide from it has become easy to create a sensational patio . patios could also help you create a coherent flow between interior and out-of-door living. The business of laying a patio will just take a few days and our step-by-step guide on them will show you how. All you require is the right tools and a few basic skills and you'll be delighting in your new home patio.



What You'll Need:


• Spirit level

• String

• Cement

• Rake

• Builders square

• Sub-base

• Bucket

• Rubber Mallet

• Spade

• Sponge

• Wheelbarrow

• Tarpaulin

• Broom

• Brick Jointer

• Brick Trowel


Step 1. Planning

• Once you have determined where your patio is going, make a plan to scale on graph paper. add all the dimensions of the patio area.

• Distinguish permanent fixtures on the plan - the buildings, walls, fencing and manhole coverings. You will have to pave around the covers and they could affect the level of the paving.

• If you do not want to cut slabs, consider a 'chessboard' layout or one of the lay outs that come with half-slabs.

• Staggering paving (like brickwork ) or placing a random design of different sized slabs generally entails cutting slabs to get a straight borderline. Seek advice if your not sure before you cut slabs.

• The surface of your paving must be at minimum 150 mm below the damp proof course of the house and so rain does not bounce off and hit the wall above.

• Your patio must feature a gentle gradient away from the home to ensure all water drains away. Allow for a drop of about 25 mm in every 1.5 m or as an alternative install a drainage channel.


• Allow for 10 mm-30 mm between slabs for fettled edges, natural stone or heavily riven slabs. Allow 10 mm-15 mm for straight edge slabs.


Step 2. Measuring up

• Calculate the area of your paving in square metres. Each pack of paving slabs displays the area it covers. Utilising a single size slab? And then just divide the area of your paving by the area covered by a single pack to see how many you need.

• If you're using another size slabs, the calculation is more complex and you should take some advice.


Step 3. Marking out the patio

• Precisely transfer your design to the ground with wooden pegs, a builder's square and line.

• Mark lines on the wooden pegs to display the depth of working - i.e. the completed level of your hard-core, bedding mortar and the surface of the patio slabs.

• Be sure marks for the top surface are level with existing paving and manhole covers.


• Remember to provide a gentle slope away from the home while putting in your wooden pegs

Step 4. Preparing the sub base

• Get rid of any turf, plants or paving and dig out to a depth of about 150 mm to allow for foundations.

• Put down a substantial base for your paving slabs, you first of all need a bed of hard-core to a depth of approximately 50 mm to 80 mm over the area of your patio.

• Apply a rake to disperse the hard-core, correcting any bumps. You can hire a power-driven wacker plate to compact the hardcore to give a good firm base.

• Add together a layer of bedding mortar all over the compacted hardcore.


Step 5. Laying down the slabs.


• Prior to you laying your slabs, check using a builder's square that the string lines are square to the home. If not, correct the guide lines.


• Establish the first slab against the building at the corner, checking out its alignment with the string guideline. It's very important that the 1st slab is positioned precisely.

• Lightly tap the slab to the right level with a lump hammer or rubber mallet.

• Check the level of the slab with a spirit level but allow for a slope away from the house.

• Continue till you have laid all the paving slabs. Do a last check to make certain they're all level.


Step 6. Pointing (filling up the gaps between the slabs)

• After your slabs are laid, allow the mortar to dry out for at least twenty-four hours before 'pointing' (filling up) the gaps between them. This mortar stops your slabs from moving and keeps weeds from flourishing in the gaps.

• To make your pointing material, use a semi-dry mix comprising of 4 parts building sand to one part cement. Be sure the mortar is just wet - this will prevent shrinking.

• Test the mortar by squashing it in your hand It ought to stay firm like wet ball when you open your fingers and not collapse (too dry) or exude water (too wet). Correct the consistency by adding water if it's too dry or additional sand and cement (pre-mixed to the correct ratio) if it's too wet.

• Push the mortar into the gaps with the edge of a trowel.

• Brushing away any excess mortar before it's entirely dry with a semi-stiff brush. Finally, moisten the slabs with a dampish sponge and clean water to remove all traces from the cement.


Step 7. Letting the mortar dry out

• If you're laying your patio in the summer, make sure the mortar doesn't dry out too quickly as it could crumble.

• In colder weather protect the drying mortar from rain or frost with polythene sheeting.

• It will be twenty-four hours or longer before your patio may be used. That will give it time to dry out properly.


Step 8. Preserving your patio

if you would like to seal the patio to stop water seeping or fading, check the producers recommendations. Applying a sealer to paving may impact the coloration.

• If the patio freezes down, applying salt could damage the surface. Instead remove snow and ice with a plastic shovelful or stiff brush.

• it's worth checking for loose or broken slabs and making sure the pointing is undamaged.

• look out for marks and stains such as alcoholic beverage, barbecue fat, gum or bird muck. Give the stains an intense cleansing treatment (all of the time abide by makers instructions).


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